Word on the street is that the corporations who'd benefit most from the Trans-Pacific Trade "Partnership" -- that is, the ones that would get to not only break our environmental, labor, and product safety laws, but sit in judgment over them -- want to give the President fast-track authority to put the "free" trade deal in place, without Congressional approval. You may recall that Congress (over the loud protests of alleged liberal Rahm Emanuel, then a U.S. Representative from Illinois) allowed Presidential fast-track authority to lapse in 2007, which at least helped delay approval of the nefarious Columbia and Panama "free" trade "deals" by four years. Why do we want this miserable excuse for a Congress involved? Because Congress is supposed to represent our will, and forcing "free" trade deals to get Congressional approval at least gives us a fighting chance of stopping a monstrosity that will eventually make us all slaves to large corporations. And a fighting chance is all I ask. Both Public Citizen and CREDO help you tell your Congressfolk to say no to Presidential fast-track authority.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan continues to be an absolutely wretched place for women to live, as its Parliament is actually mulling a bill that would greatly aid abusers of women, by banning relatives from testifying against each other in court. Real family values-type stuff, that! If you're at all familiar with domestic violence cases -- even the ones that don't involve a family ganging up on you and torturing you because you won't prostitute yourself, which was Sahar Gul's life until recently -- you know that a lot of cases don't get very far without the testimony of relatives, since they're generally the only ones in any position to confirm abuse claims. So one can only presume that the Afghan government would impose an otherwise completely arbitrary standard on court testimony so it can continue to turn a blind eye to how some of its citizens still treat women. Thus Avaaz helps you tell the Upper House of the Afghan Parliament to reject the "gag rule" bill passed by the Lower House. The Upper House might respond positively; it has in the past. But that's no reason to be complacent.
Finally, Making Change at Walmart joins with Daily Kos to help you tell WalMart to stop firing striking workers and pay them a living wage. Four of the ten richest folks in America come from the Walton family, and WalMart made nearly $16 billion in profits in 2011, but many of its workers have to rely on taxpayer-funded programs including food stamps and Medicaid -- which means, folks, that you're paying WalMart workers, too! That should dispel the glow of perpetually low prices, if the continued wage-slavery of Chinese workers making all that cheap crap hasn't dispelled that glow already. WalMart has also disciplined or fired more than 70 workers for the crime of going on strike for decent wages, when retaliating against workers who agitate for better conditions is illegal; WalMart might be able to buy their way out of trouble there, though that's yet another reason not to let big corporations get that big in the first place. And paying workers a living wage is, of course, one way we prevent corporations from getting so big they run roughshod over us -- if we have more power, they have less.